If you have ever booked a five star hotel only to find it barely merits the standard of a motel, you may be interested to know how hotels get their ranking.
Five star luxury hotels in America conjure up expectations of pillow menus, on-site spas, spacious comfortable rooms and first class room service. Generally guests are not disappointed with the advertised standards, although odd disappointments may occur. This is because hotels in the USA are rated anonymously by two highly trustworthy companies – AAA and Forbes. Both have very high criteria such as guests arriving curbside should be greeted within 60 seconds. In fact the Forbes inspectors have a checklist of 525 points for each hotel they stay at incognito.
With the AAA system, hotels are rated on a diamond system from one to five and even one diamond resorts must pass certain requirements relating to cleanliness and management but they do not necessarily have basics such as an elevator or a business center.
Worldwide however, standards are much less stringent. For example, in Italy all it takes to get a five star rating is a 24-hour reception, rooms larger than 172 square feet and multilingual receptionists. Hotels are awarded a star just for changing the sheets once a week! Australia, on the other hand, has its own private rating system operated by the Australian Automobile Association which has exceptionally high standards.
Many European countries have government-produced ratings which are heavily biased as the better the quality of hotels, the more tourists the country will attract. The Hotel Stars Union so far has 11 countries in Europe participating in a new standardized system. In France, ratings are based on the presence of certain features such as air conditioning and bathroom facilities rather than the quality of such amenities and in Asia, South America and Africa there are no official tourist board standards at all, leaving hotels to make whatever claim they wish. No wonder consistency is an issue!
Fortunately dedicated luxury hotel booking sites such as www.Luxique.com only select hotels that meet the highest standards, giving clients an additional layer of assurance.
The luxury Mandarin Oriental Hotel in London’s Knightsbridge has always been a special place to dine. The hotel’s latest coup is the highly respected chef, Heston Blumenthal, whose Fat Duck restaurant in Bray, Berkshire earned him three coveted Michelin stars.
Keen to try something new, he has been experimenting with recipes as far back as the 14th century, long before such words as “haute cuisine”, “cordon bleu” and “gourmet dining” had even been coined. The results of his creative genius will be the highlights of the menu at the soon-to-be-opened dining experience at the Mandarin Oriental, “Dinner by Heston Blumenthal”.
This opportunity for diners to try something different from Blumenthal’s kitchen will be available from the end of January. However, this will not just be an experience for the palate, but also for the eyes, as diners will be able to see the smooth workings of the kitchen through a floor-to-ceiling glass wall.
Platters of delectable goodies such as hay-smoked mackerel accompanied by lemon salad and gentlemen’s relish will be delivered on a pulley system which also has its origins in royal kitchens of the 16th century.
by Gillian at Luxique Luxury Hotels
To the book the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in London or any other luxury hotel in London, choose Luxique as your first online destination.
I recently stayed in a luxury hotel that boasted 4½ stars.
I meant to have asked them how they fell so agonisingly short of that Holy Grail of 5 stars, but it went clean out of my head. A couple of extra bottles in the mini-bar, perhaps, a better range of toiletries, free airport shuttle …?
But, of course, these days there are some luxury hotels that laugh at 5 stars – they’re in the 6 or 7 league (the Burj Al Arab in Dubai, for example). There are even rumours of a 10-star luxury hotel planned for somewhere in the Middle East.
There is, in fact, no universal star system. Rating methods can vary from global region to global region, country to country and, in many cases, within countries.
Some in the industry believe this star–rating inflation is more for the benefit of the luxury hotels than their guests. “This is only done for prestige,” said Dr Ghassan Aidi, President of the International Hotels and Restaurants Association. “They want to be apart from the four or five stars existing. They call themselves 6 stars, 7 stars, 10 stars. No such thing exists. Five stars is already too much.”
The ultimate goal would be to develop a unified star-rating system that the consumer could trust. That, though, would be a tall order because different cultures around the world value different things.
by Andy Moreton, with acknowledgements to Rajan Datar and Affan Chowdhry of BBC News online.